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Gender and Mood Swings – is there a link?

angry-moody-man-and-woman-head-to-head

The phrase ‘mood swing’ is often used flippantly. Rather than refer to any kind of actual emotional
problem or condition, we use it playfully. In fact, the last time you said someone was having a
mood swing it might not have had anything to do with their mood at all. A real mood swing can be a
sign of something serious, and stripping back the layers can lead to many possibilities of what
causes them. In terms of gender, there are biological and cultural differences that affect why men
and women have mood swings and what kind of help they should seek.

Depression

Frequent mood swings are a concern if they seem untriggered. They can be a sign of depression.
Any kind of intense feelings of apathy and hopelessness, even if not constant, can qualify as
depression and your first step should always be to seek medical advice. This isn’t to say it is bipolar
disorder – a regularly misunderstood illness – but it would only be to your benefit to seek a
diagnosis if only to rule it out. The differences in men and women come from how they manage
with depression, and it links to a long-held anthropological idea of gender differences in
communicating emotions. Men withdraw when emotional due to feeling vulnerable. This
vulnerability means they feel attacked and have a retreating mentality – they blame others, put their
guard up and attempt to feel in control. This might result in restless behaviours, such as picking
fights, mindless boasting and indulging in hedonistic activities like drinking and gambling. Because
the emotions build up the more they are repressed, they are released in a hectic manner which
causes mood swings when the energy and agitation has been expended. Women are comfortable
with vulnerability and immerse themselves in it. They blame themselves, cry regularly and become
more anxious and scared in disposition. Because they are so receptive and sensitive in depression,
the slightest action can affect them and change their mood. A small, empty compliment can cause
women’s moods to drastically improve.

Biology

Biological differences are the main causes in how mood swings are identifiable by gender. Across
many intersections, including race, class and nationality, women remain twice as likely to become
depressed as men and it links to the greater physical changes women go through. The majority of
mood disorders are affective, and depend on many factors combining, including family history.
Statistically, this means that one gender will be more likely to suffer mood disorders than others,
and in this case it is women. Hormonal imbalances are more common in women due to the
menstrual cycle and pregnancy, and the body’s attempt at regulating them causes mood swings.
Many women have premenstrual conditions such as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD),
suffer with post-partum depression after giving birth and deal with perimenopause once the
hormonal cycle of menstruation starts slowing down. All these big changes can have a
psychological impact too, especially the pregnancy. Infertility issues, unwanted pregnancy and
abortion and miscarriages can be traumatic for women and impact mood control. Hormonal effects
on men tend to be more common in younger demographics due to post-puberty, and though women
are more likely to have hormonal problems such as over-active thyroids, they can happen with men
too.

Social treatment

Though social factors for mood swings have seen significant change over the past few decades, they
are still of interest to note. Less so now than before, women felt stronger social pressures which
could contribute to the worsening of mood swings and related conditions, such as weaker economic
positions, fulfilling the matriarchal role adequately or low self-worth due to body image. In the
event of improved women’s rights and the increased visibility of feminist work, the social pressures
on women have become lighter. Furthermore, social pressures are becoming an increasing worry for
their impact on men’s mental health. The seeming importance of body image and popular motif of ​
success across social media platforms and in the media can negatively affect men’s self-esteem,
more so than in the past.

Moods are complex structurally. So much must combine together in circumstance to overload a man
or woman, leaving them in a terse emotional state. From social standing to biological bias, learning
to control each aspect of your life can seriously help you manage your mood swings and maybe
even identify a medical problem you had never thought to check for before. Take your problems one
step at a time and look after yourself. Contacting your GP is the best first step to take. If
you want some additional support to improve your mood join our club with lots of online tools
to help challenge your mindset daily.

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This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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